Monday, March 11, 2013

From RossM: WWII German Wespe, Marder III & Anti-Tank Guns (62 points)

From Ross:
First up there are two self propelled guns from Britainia Miniatures. Both are 20mm in scale and if I am correct there is a Marder III and a Wespe - although I think the barrel of the gun is in correct for a Wespe. Could be wrong as I have the had the kits for a long time.

Next there are three Tank killers from Battlefront in 15mm. The first pair are Jagdpanzer IV's with which I have gone for a bolder style with the camo than normal for me. 

The next tank is a Jagdpanther which does not have as bold a camo pattern this time. All a great miniatures to paint with a surprising amount of detail.

Now three anti-tank guns. The crew figures are from SHQ and all are 20mm in scale. 

The guns came from Skytrex and include a PAK 43 - (this model really show why it was called a barn door), PAK 40 & PAK 38. 

Only the crew have been painted for the Challenge.

I may have said this before but 20mm is my favourite scale for this period, especially for the Late War era.
Great work Ross. Very nice camo on the vehicles and I really like the bases you've done for the AT guns - nice texture with the mix of tufts and static grass.  

These tank destroyers and anti-tank gun crews will give Ross 62 points. Nice job!

From ChrisP: 28mm North Vietnamese Army & US Pilot (55 points)

From Chris:
So, back to Nam.
First up is another squad of NVA troops, again from Eureka Miniatures. These represent the NVA rather than my other unit which was far more like the Viet Cong or Local Force troops. Eureka have done a good job on these, they are typical of them very well cast, have some animated poses and a cool variety of weapons (SKS Carbines, AKs, an Enfield). The RPG is slightly anemic, but I guess that would be an excuse for it being bad in game terms?
I do like the Eureka Vietnam range, but it really is 25mm more than 28mm, so I am likely to get grumpy about it when I try to mix other ranges with them. Although, I do now have 21 North Vietnamese- so how many do I really need?
I am going to game with them using a modified version of Skirmish Sangin, which I am currently writing. 
I saw this pilot figure from Airwaves for sale on a local trading website, and thought, 1/48 Pilot? Heck yea! What a cool objective marker! But when he arrived, I quickly realised that he was GIANT! He positively towers over the poor NVA next to him! So, I simply painted him up and put him on an airstrip-style base, where he can just stand looking pretty cool. Not a bad figure, shame he is so ginormous.

Anyway, just the 11 28mm (ish) models, I will have a big update next....

Great work Chris. With his kepi-style hat the pilot looks more French Foreign Legion than American, then again that would still work for Vietnam (or more accurately, Indochine).

These eleven figures will give Chris 55 points to widen his lead at the front of the pack.

From Sylvain: 1:2400 WWII Royal Navy for Mers-El-Kebir (24 points)

From Sylvain:
Above is what I have painted so far for the Royal Navy. Unfortunately, I will not be able to paint any more until the 23rd of March, so after the end of the challenge. I am seriously considering early retirement in order to be more competitive next year :-). 
This time, I am submitting HMS Valiant, HMS Hood, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Enterprise (a light cruiser) and 6 destroyers. The first two ships mentioned are from CinC, all the rest are from GHQ. HMS Hood is not in WW2 configuration, but only experts like PeterD can tell the difference. 
What do all these ships have in common? They fought at Mers-El-Kebir.  PeterD has in his collection the remaining ships present at the battle.  So it is now a matter of time before you read a battle report from Algeria in 1940. 
This close-up of HMS Ark Royal shows heavy weathering. When I asked PeterD what color he painted his own Royal Navy models, he mentioned that British ships were at sea most of the time and, therefore, battered by the elements. It's a little difficult to "scale down" rust at 1:2400, but I am quite pleased with the result. Liferafts were usually grey, but I cheated and used a dull orange to create some contrast. 
Here is HMS Hood, eternally associated to the hunt for the Bismark. But Hood also played an important role at Mers-El-Kebir. I used Hood to test colors for the Royal Navy and was not really satisfied with the result. But since it's a CinC model I got for cheap, I'll just keep it the way she is and will eventually buy the GHQ model. Sorry CinC, but the details on GHQ models are just too awesome. 
Best of luck to all the participants in the challenge!

Lovely work Sylvain! I"m really looking forward to you and Peter putting these through their paces at Mers-El-Kebir in the near future.

These ships from the Royal Navy will give Sylvain 24 well-earned points.

Guest Post AAR - A Touch of Blau - WW2 Spearhead

From Greg (with cheezy photo editorial by Curt):
Greetings again challengers! I encourage you to put down your brushes (particularly Ray and Tamsin - give a guy a chance!) and enjoy my final guest post AAR from operation Wacht Am Wascana, my recent trip to Regina.  We had already played 15mm Golan Heights 1973 and two rounds of 28mm Colonial Sudan.  For our last game I had brought along a small (literally) contingent of miniatures for a game system that Curt and I count among our favourites - Spearhead.
Spearhead is a division-level game, with each model or base of models representing a platoon of infantry or tanks, or a battery of guns.  The maneuver elements are battalions - groups of nine to twelve platoons, depending on nationality, period of the war, scenario circumstances etc. 
Spearhead requires that players come up with a battle plan, with written orders for each battalion.  This is a great check on the player's "helicopter view" of the battlefield, and changing these orders is not always easy - again dependent on nationality and what period of the war.  If your battalions end up on the wrong side of the table, you will not easily scramble them over to the other side.
This game was a small one, set in the summer of 1942 in the opening period of Operation Blau, the German drive on the Caucasus region (we all know how that worked out in the end).  It was derived from a much larger scenario from the book scenario book "Where the Iron Crosses Grow" - that is a great book, but the scenarios in there assume players have entire divisions of models at their disposal.
We used a 4' x 4' table. The Germans had a panzer battalion and a schutzen battalion, and they were confronting a Soviet armoured brigade (three tank battalions and an infantry battalion) which had been ordered to counter attack them.  Victory conditions were simple - the Soviets won if they broke one of the German battalions.  The Germans won if they broke two of the Soviet battalions.  I played the Germans and Curt played the Soviets.

The game last about seven turns before the victory conditions were met - by Curt (!@!@!!).  It had all been going so smoothly too - my schutzen lads moved into the middle of the table while my panzers darted around the flank with a panache that would have impressed Guderian himself.  The panzers rolled up one of Curt's tank battalions and were descending on the heavily exposed flanks of his other units.

Victory was in sight, and my panzer crews were practicing their thank-you speeches for the Iron Cross ceremony that was sure to follow.
But then all of a sudden Curt managed to change his orders. For THREE of his four units. This NEVER happens for Russians. You may recall I mentioned that in Spearhead you have to draw up a battle plan, and then stick with it - and changing orders depends on period and nationality.  Well the early war Russian player - even though they get tons of kit to cover the table - can almost never change orders for their maneuver elements, even with the intervention of higher command.  You needed to roll a '6', or at least a '5' if the brigade commander is taking a hand.  But the bugger pulled it off...

This meant my comfortable little Schutzen lads were confronted with a Stalin-level "uuuurrrahhh!" as the Soviet tanks and infantry surged forward.  To add to the mayhem, Curt hot-rolled with his battalion mortars - I lost my MG platoon - ouch - while my mortars fired blanks.  My lads blew it on the approach fire, blew it on the close combat role, and then blew it on the morale check! F***!  German attack halted while division sends reinforcements over - and no doubt the German commander in question was sacked for letting this little counter attack set things back! 
To Curt's credit he was a little queasy about the victory - after all the table was covered in charred BT-5s and other wrecked Soviet bits.  But looking back I made a major mistake - not attaching some armour directly to the infantry! I was sure the infantry's PAK 38 battery, together with their organic anti-tank elements, would easily handle the BT-5s (which didn't even have MGs for goodness sake - Curt had to roll "6"s on a D6 to even scratch my infantry units).  But treads are treads, and when they are driving over your fox hole it sucks - even if they are on obsolete tanks.

A good lesson for next time - and another reason of why I love Spearhead.  It's a great example of balanced abstraction & engagement concepts in a thin set of rules.  It provides great flavour for the period, and keeps players worrying about what division-level players should be worried about - "why are my orders not working!?!"
This is my final guest AAR from this trip, but it is not the last AAR for the weekend - Curt ran a game on the Friday night for the regular Regina gaming crew of which I will say no more other than it is connected to one of his many recent bonkers projects, and I was thrilled to take part!  I'm sure Curt's showman instincts will provide a proper rollout here on his blog in due course...
Thanks again to Curt and Sarah for their wonderful hospitality.  Five games in one weekend - now that's a weekend! Curt is visiting Winnipeg soon, and I am hoping to fire up a gaming reception to make the return visit worthwhile.

From IannickM: 28mm Canaanite Bedouin Javelineers (60 points)

From Iannick:
Today au menu we have a unit of Shasu Bedouin javelineers for my Canaanite army. The Shasu Bedouin were Semitic speaking pastoral cattle nomads who appeared in the Levant from the late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. They were organized in clans under a tribal chieftain. Regarded as outcasts and brigands, they were usually hired as mercenaries to supplement the forces of the Canaanite kings. 

I stayed true to my army colour scheme but included more raw linen clothes to reflect the Shasu's standing or lack thereof. Although I did went colourful on the headgears. As usual, the figures are Foundry, bases by Litko. For those interested, I will put a basing tutorial on my blog in the coming days using this unit as an example.
I'm still way behind my objective but I intend to do my best to at least send one more submission before the end of the contest.

Wow, that is a beautiful unit Iannick. Again, like your previous work for this army, I really like the vibrant colour palette you are using.

These bedouin mercenaries will give Iannick 60 points. Lovely work!

From RayR: 15mm Phoenician Marines (32 points)

From Ray:

And now for something completely different.
These 15mm Xyston figures have been have along with tons of other  lead been sitting unopened in my lead draw. To be perfectly honest, I don't even remember buying them??? I did once have a 15mm Greek army, I think these were going to be part of that or they could have been to join the ranks of my Carthaginian army.....who knows?????
The figures are actually Phoenician Marines but could be used for any Greek styled army, unfortunately there wasn't any command figures, so the chap in the middle's in charge!! His names Curtocleas.
Curtocleas? Very nice, I'm honoured. Though I must say it sounds like some sort of 'ailment' you catch on one of those singles vacations... 'A little penicillin will clear that right up.'

Great work Ray! While I've always been a great fan of your jacobin stuff it is nice to see you wander into other periods from time to time.

These orphaned Greek Marines will give Ray 32 points.